De gustibus non est disputandum, goes the medieval Scholastic saying: “About taste, there is no dispute.” At first blush, this seems a pretty straightforward statement, opposing reason—which is purportedly objective—with preference, which is subjective.
For instance, I like ladies in hats. Not the pillbox, Jackie O–type, or the Roaring 20s close-to-the-head, cloche-style, or even the fedora-style, but hats with brims, floppy hats, summer hats, the kind of hats which to me, even make the Wicked Witch of the West look good, the kind Julia Roberts wore in “Pretty Woman.” I also like raspberry sherbet in a waffle cone. Both of these preferences do not admit to some kind of logical argument. If I were asked why I like ladies in hats and raspberry sherbet, I’d just say, “because.” I would feel no imperative to explain, no need to go on social media to bolster my statement with some ideological gymnastics.
I suppose those who MUST have a tidy answer to everything, or those who claim some insight into the dark and labyrinthine recesses of the human consciousness, would say something mind-boggling mushy, something which smells like psychological determinism: I like women in floppy-brim hats because my mother or grandmother or sister or first grade teacher wore them; I like raspberry sherbet because one idyllic summer I was sharing a raspberry sherbet cone with my first crush and I had my first kiss on a grassy knoll overlooking a placid lake. […]